I've done a lot for my startup in the past four months, but sometimes I still think I'm very inefficient because often I try to adapt to new behaviors but then I start moving back to older ones because I believe I can't do it.
Two driving factors of an inefficient mind (a mind that produces counterproductive behaviors), I believe, are the urge for doubt, change and decision making which is caused by uncertainty, and the urge for communication, which is caused by isolation.
Solo entrepreneurs often have a problem with these urges, especially if you're just starting and you have no proof that your product is going to work. You just have a strong gut feeling that it will, but it's very hard to convince others. Doubt comes because you're doing something different than others. You're innovating, and that can be scary. The urge to be social and communicate is a normal human trait and is also necessary to stay sane. However, when you're doing a project on your own, it can make you less efficient, and it can be a bad move strategically to tell what you are doing to other entrepreneurs.
For example, sometimes I think I need to have some food because I feel a little hungry. Or I need to relax before I can focus better. Or I think I need a coffee because I feel dull. While some of these things might be true, your normal routine should not give rise to this kind of inefficiencies, because a mind full of doubt and decision making is inefficient, just like communication.
A mind that has to deal a lot with decisions is less efficient. It is more efficient to have made these decisions beforehand once, made behaviors out of it, and just do it.
You can't check if you're being productive or focused all the time because that distracts you. Because of this, sometimes you end up working while being kind of vague in the head, which decreases productivity.But you can change your environment and habits in order to achieve maximum focus.> If you're Dutch and you like rap... Listen to this.
Communication is also inefficient because it is just transfer of information. If one mind can do all there is no transfer of information necessary. This, by the way, is one other reason that remote work is growing and often successful: people tend to be more productive because of a decrease of communication because of a higher threshold to start communicating (time zones + calls instead of real-life conversations). Please note that I don't mean 'learning' with 'communication'. Getting advice to determine your direction, or learning a new skill because you need it to create something, may also be 'communication' in a way. I mean the more behavioral and ongoing communication. I mean that in some companies, people communicate a huge amount of time because of the effort it takes to adjust your output to fit in with what others do. This kind of back-and-forth communication can be avoided when you do everything yourself.
Of course, doing something alone might not be possible in all cases. Sometimes it takes too much time to learn some skills. But when you think about the 80/20 rule you know that 80% of the results can be achieved with 20% of the knowledge. Therefore, it can be a pretty good choice to start a company alone, for efficiencies sake. Yet, keep in mind that you should have a good understanding of the world and the problem you're solving with the product. Being alone may decrease this understanding. Nonetheless, it should also be noted that after you made your decision of making something because you're sure it solves a certain problem very significantly and in a smart way, you should not have doubt anymore about your product. You should just make it and see it work in practice. If you doubt while working, you will be less efficient.
To have a productive state of being, it's very important to keep a balance and suppress the urges of communication and change. These urges are good once in a while, but to be productive, it is important to focus and grow your actual product by creating the biggest amount of the time.
Things that are important for maximum focus on a chosen subject:
- The threshold to do other things is very high: leave your phone at home, go to a co-working or have a private desk, far away from other things like a kitchen, snacks, chit-chat, or a bar. Also, make sure you can't do non-work related things while on your computer (I delve into this in other articles)
- Comfortable environment, physically (Temperature, air-quality, and quietness must be of high quality to feel comfortable)
- Comfortable environment, mentally (You should feel safe where you work and you should like the people around you)
Of course, if you're not certain of your product yet, you should communicate and change more, until you are. But once you are, you should go to the more productive phase, and just go back to change and communication once in a while, and minimize them to be most productive.
I think this I have reached this phase now, and I'm trying to get into an extremely focused environment where I can grow my product.